According to The Athletic, Nottingham Forest remain interested in their former loanee and Manchester United rising star James Garner.
As per the report, the newly-promoted side join Everton and Southampton in their interest after Garner was surprisingly made available on the transfer market recently with a price tag set at £14m.
After struggling to get a deal over the line earlier in the transfer window for Garner, Steve Cooper and the powers at The City Ground set their sights on midfield alternatives, making four new signings in the centre of the pitch.
Orel Mangala, Remo Freuler, Cheikhou Kouyate and Lewis O’Brien have all been brought in to bolster the midfield options over the Premier League campaign, however, despite the positions being fully covered Cooper is a huge admirer of Garner.
Sealing a permanent move for the 21-year-old dynamo was one of the targets for Forest in the early stages of the summer transfer window following his impressive season-long loan spell at the club in the Championship last season, but it wasn’t until last week that Manchester United came to the decision to sell their youngster.
Over 41 appearances, Garner who was hailed “quality” by Martin Keown scored four goals, delivered eight assists and created seven big chances, making two key passes, 1.4 interceptions and 1.8 tackles per game, as well as winning 53% of his duels combined, proving that he was the perfect all-rounder in the central role for Forest last season.
Indeed, Cooper was no stranger to the midfielder after also working with him in the England U17s squad and lavished praise on the player for his development (via The Athletic):
“I knew him from his England Under-17 days, where he was captain, so we had a relationship before here.”
“He has been excellent.”
“Over recent months he has been a high-performing player in the team.”
Despite having many new signings capable of covering Garner’s former role in the team, there is no doubt that the Man United talent could bring some of that promotion-winning spirit back to the dressing room and is already very experienced in playing in Cooper’s highly effective system that made the team so successful in the Championship.
With that being said, the permanent signing of Garner would be a great piece of business for the Tricky Trees, but the Forest boss will need to decide if it’s the right move to make after bringing in so many midfielders all already competing for a spot in the team.